As a senator, Butler supported civil service reform, a strong navy, and the elevation of the agriculture department to cabinet-level status. He also secured nearly $5 million in federal funds for South Carolina harbor and river improvements and public buildings. In 1890 Butler instigated a national debate with his introduction of a bill to provide federal aid to blacks who would emigrate to Africa. Responding to South Carolina’s agrarian movement, Butler shifted his position from that of a conservative Democrat to one favoring such Populist measures as the free coinage of silver and a federal income tax. Read the Entry »

Although Butler served in the General Assembly from 1776 to 1789, his most significant political accomplishments came at the national level. In 1787 the legislature elected Butler to both the Confederation Congress and the constitutional convention scheduled to meet later that spring in Philadelphia. In the constitutional debates, Butler generally supported proposals for a strong central government, a single executive, and wealth rather than population as the basis of representation. He also championed South Carolina interests, especially slavery, and vigorously opposed the three-fifths compromise, arguing that slaves represented property wealth and should be counted fully for purposes of representation. Read the Entry »

Butler discovered that various state political leaders were seeking to elect him governor. He emphatically stated that he would not actively seek the office but would accept only as a “point of honor.” On December 19, 1836, the General Assembly elected Butler to the governorship. In his inaugural address, Butler called on South Carolinians to forget divisive issues and pledged to revitalize the state’s militia system. Read the Entry »

In 1927 Susan Butler opened a free library and reading room in Dart Hall, using her father’s books, folding chairs, and two tables. The reading room was open Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. Dart served as librarian and operated the room with donations and at her own expense until the Charleston Free Library established the Dart Hall Branch in 1931. The Charleston County Free Library and its branches received money from the Rosenwald Fund and the Carnegie Foundation, while the Dart family rented the building to the county for one dollar a year. The Dart Hall Branch opened to the African American public with 3,600 books. Read the Entry »

Among her numerous novels, Byars won the most critical acclaim for The Summer of the Swans (1970), the story of a young girl named Sara and her experiences with her mentally handicapped brother, Charlie. This book won many honors, including the John Newbery Medal from the American Library Association. In total, Byars has written more than fifty books, including The Night Swimmers (1980), Wanted . . . Mud Blossom (1991), and Keeper of the Doves (2002). Read the Entry »

Over his lifetime Byrnes held many public positions, coming closer than any other South Carolinian in the twentieth century to obtaining the national political influence wielded by John C. Calhoun in the nineteenth century. Byrnes left a series of political legacies in South Carolina, the nation, and the world. His advocacy of highway and New Deal legislation provided numerous material benefits to South Carolinians. His services to President Roosevelt had a major impact on the national economy during World War II. His role as secretary of state was instrumental in defining postwar foreign policy. In the 1950s and 1960s Byrnes’s support of Republican presidential candidates was a key factor in the party’s revitalization in the South. Read the Entry »